Pre 64 M70 vs newest iteration - which would you choose?

Discussion in 'Firearms & Ammunition' started by Dwight Beagle, Jun 22, 2017.

  1. Dwight Beagle

    Dwight Beagle AH Enthusiast

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    I'd take the current iteration.
     
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  2. PHOENIX PHIL

    PHOENIX PHIL AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    Have both and a great affection perhaps driven by nostalgia for the pre-64's. But it would have to be one helluva great condition pre-64 in .300WM for me to trade my FN version SG in same caliber.

    Now let the :A Shit: flinging begin in earnest. :A Popcorn:
     
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  3. Desert Dog

    Desert Dog AH Veteran

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    I own 6 pre-64 M70s and love them to varying degrees. My 300 H&H and one of my 30-06s were worthy of restocking and freshening up and they get used more than any other guns in my many safes full of guns. Most pre-64s are perfect in every way, except for what age and half a decade of use have done. The stock will likely need to be re-bedded and cracks repaired, or re-stocked if the old stock is beyond repairing properly. Also, there is a good chance the barrel is shot-out in fast cartridges or damaged from poor maintenance or neglect. But on a good note, IMO, no rifle is as smooth and balanced as a pre-64 model 70. If you put the time and money into bringing one back to life, it will forever be your go-to hunting rifle.

    The new FN M70s, even the Portugal produced ones, are absolutely fantastic. They have all the features of the pre-64, but with a better barrel and require no work out of the box (unless you choose to re-bed, which I always do with any gun). The
    newer FN-made rifles are every bit as good as a pre-64 and can be had for much less money. Between the old lady and myself, we have 5 FN-made rifles in 243, 30-06, 300WM, 375 H&H, and 416 rem mag. They have all been great.

    If I owned neither and wanted to buy a rifle today, I would get a new Model 70, in either Supergrade or Safari Express (depending on caliber).
     

  4. sierraone

    sierraone AH ENABLER SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    No flinging from me.....agree 100 % !!!
     

  5. Ray B

    Ray B AH Elite

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    I haven't seen a new M70, but all of this talk reminds me of the gun writers in 1964 talking about how great the "new" M70 was- enclosed boltface, free-floated barrel and even basket-weave patterning on the stock. To some of the gun writers credit, not all of them were on the Winchester payroll.
     

  6. BnC 04

    BnC 04 GOLD SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    Love both, I have used a few of my pre-64's but the majority of them are just holding their spot behind glass. The highest % of my "go to" rifles are New Haven production rifles. I think I have 5-8 FN rifles of which I really enjoy.
    Can't go wrong with a new production Winnie in my opinion but then again I'm extremely biased and totally good with it;)
     

  7. Abeln

    Abeln AH Veteran

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    I have 2 pre-war and 1 pre-64, also have 4 FN and 1 New Haven classic. In my opinion they rank in this order:
    1. FN
    2. Pre-war
    3. Pre-64
    4 New Haven classic.

    My new FN models (2 Columbia, SC, 1 "assembled in Portugal", 1 "made in Portugal") are ALL smooth running actions, no feed issues, decent balance, good shooters as is from the factory. The Portugal stocks do not have as nice of finish to me but the stock can be refinished (had 3 custom wood stocks and 1 McMillan).

    The pre-wars I have are both .30-06. One with the standard 24" barrel three digit serial number and one 20" carbine four digit serial number. Both of these are slick and decent shooters. The standard is more accurate as is probably because of the scope (3.5-10×40 vs. 2.5×20 fixed).

    The pre-64 is a 1956 .243 win. It's a good shooter but I personally prefer the way the pre-war feels. However, scope mounts are easier to deal with on the pre-64 vs. pre-war.

    The classic has a noticeably rougher action although it shoots close to MOA at 100 with factory ammo and a 4x33.
     

  8. Redruff

    Redruff AH Enthusiast

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    Pre-64 just plain sounds like music to the ears.

    Call me a romantic if you like.

    R.
     

  9. fourfive8

    fourfive8 AH Fanatic

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    I have owned or still own several examples of most all iterations. Pre-64, post-64 push feed, post-64 CRF and the current FN M70 CRF. It would be hard to beat the pre-64s I have and the post-64 New Haven CRF. All the pre-FN M70s, even the push feed, have the excellent original design M70 trigger (IMO probably the best trigger ever designed for a hunting rifle). The FN M70 does not retain the original M70 design trigger. I prefer the old M70 trigger. I have no idea why FN decided to use a "box" trigger. While the FN M70 is a nice gun I don't think it is superior in any way to one of the older pre-64 M70s or the post-64 New Haven CRF M70s in good condition… just my opinion.
     

  10. crs

    crs AH Fanatic

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    My M70 Featherweight .308 was made in the 1950s and is my most used rifle.
    Back when I first bought it used , I floated the barrel, accurized the trigger with an Arkansas stone and later had it magnaported. It has always been my go- to rifle for deer and such game. It has been fired 4 times in the last three years and has taken 4 heads of game. If I need to kill something, it does the job. The original fixed 4 power Leupold M8 is on it and has not let me down. It has been reblued and the stock has been refinished so it shows little of the wear and hard knocks it has taken.
    Naturally, I have other rifles , but if it came down to keeping only one center fire, it would be my M70.
     
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  11. Ray B

    Ray B AH Elite

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    Unless it's been in a store's gunrack, I don't think I've ever seen much less held a Portugese Model 70, but from what I read here they must really be something!!
     

  12. CTDolan

    CTDolan AH Elite

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    Pre-64, no contest.

    Having seen several of the latest M70 rifles, I am not impressed.
     
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  13. CTDolan

    CTDolan AH Elite

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    I know that last sentence won't be well received, but it's been my observation.
     

  14. Rob404

    Rob404 AH ENABLER BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    I recently purchased a New Winchester Supergrade in 300win. I have no experience with the Pre 64 Models but have heard some bad reports on the models built from 64 till recent( push feed, press checkering etc). My new M70 with the new CRF feed is a well built and extremely accurate rifle. My only complaint is the safety is still a bit stiff and altho the wood is nice I'm not nuts about the mat finish.
     

  15. Abeln

    Abeln AH Veteran

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    If you zoom in on the barrel it says made in USA, assembled in Portugal.

    This is a new FN .30-06 that I had a stock crafted for.
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2017
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  16. crs

    crs AH Fanatic

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    PS on pre 64 M70 accuracy:
    I was reviewing some old range logs last weekend and found a log from when I was trying to see just how well I could shoot my newly "accurized" featherweight .308:
    A 3 shot group of 3/8th inch
    a 5 shot group of 5/8th inch

    Thinking I could do better, I took the rifle and targets to a well known .308 bench rest shooter and asked his advice.
    He told me to quit playing with paper targets and go hunting. He said that such a lightweight rifle and barrel rarely shot as well as mine and that if I ever missed a shot at game, it would be my fault. I took his advice and have had a blast! :)
     
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  17. curtism1234

    curtism1234 AH Enthusiast

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    My experiences with the new rifles (about 3 years ago and they were on the used rack at Cabelas) are not positive. All three rifles had safeties that were completely unacceptable --- like it was full of sand. People online have said it would work it's way out. I don't believe they should be that way from the factory and I would not own one that felt that way.

    Now that being said, there may have been a limited run of less than desirable rifles and that is fixed now. I'll have to see sometime.
     

  18. Firebird

    Firebird AH Enthusiast

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    I inherited Grandpa's pre 64 in .30-06. I got it because the uncles and others didn't want a "shot out" rifle. Indeed with the pre 64 ammo also in grandpas safe the rifle was a bit of a joke. But when I handloaded some 165 gr speer grand slam bullets for it, the rifle came to life! The serial number info is not exact but some research puts it most likely at 1951-53. The trigger was at 11 pounds so I had that lowered to 4 which was all the gunsmith dared do, and I had the stock stripped and re-rubbed and of course a new scope to replace the" redfield 4xtube" It shoots other bullets equally well but gamekings and grand slams have claimed a couple cow elk and whitetail deer for me including my biggest antlered buck to date. So my vote goes to the pre 64's.
    BUT I did handle new rifles from all the major makers over the last week thinking to buy a .375 for my next year safari. Of them all, the m70 from Winchester was my favorite and I quite liked it. Most of the new rifles felt loose and several even had rattles to them. In the end I opted to spend the price of a new rifle on a new camera instead and will take my old .300 rem 700 for plains game next year. That's how much I was not impressed by any of the newer rifles at sportsmans warehouse.
     

  19. PHOENIX PHIL

    PHOENIX PHIL AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    11lb trigger?!!!! That would nearly require hands like @Bullthrower338 to trip that trigger!
     

  20. fourfive8

    fourfive8 AH Fanatic

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    Ya I believe it. And yes probably a particular "run" or period of production where either the as-cast or as-machined parts were a little too rough or where the CNC as-fit condition specs weren't spot on. All those FN Win 70s after the move to SC (post 2006 Win) would be primarily CNC fitted with a minimum of hand finishing. Really the only way to keep costs competitive. Just like the old style Win 70 trigger, that safety design is one of the best for a hard use hunting rifle. Unfortunately FN dropped the old trigger design in favor of a box but they did keep the safety design. But as you noticed, the nature of that design requires hand fitting and can be rough.

    There is usually no such roughness of feel in a simple box trigger block/sear block type safety simply because of the nature of the design. Plug the boxed trigger in, connect the safety lever link and presto- easy operating safety all installed with a minimum of human hand fitting or adjustment. The Rem 700 trigger and safety system is an example of this type.

    Time will tell if the FN Win 70 box trigger is any good. I much prefer the old style 70 trigger! But the basic Win 70 safety design that mechanically blocks the striker (firing pin) will always be the better design- IMO. Just need luck in the having all the CNC or as-cast parts fit right and/or be smooth enough. Or, with a factory type gun selling at a competitive price point, be prepared to do a little extra work after the purchase. By comparison- the generally rough, gritty cycling of many of the popular CZ bolt guns also comes to mind :)
     
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